When planning a visit to a new city, many travelers debate about whether or not to bring their car. With modern options such as ride share and public transportation, how can drivers best utilize a car on their vacation while minimizing both costs and stress? Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your vehicle and time.
1. Decide Your Comfort Level
If you are uncomfortable driving in a strange area — especially a big city — be realistic about how much you want to drive. If you are afraid of city driving or rush hour navigation, keep in mind that you'll have plenty of alternatives. But the earlier you decide where your comfort level is, the more you can plan ahead to work around valid concerns. Your trip will go more smoothly, and you'll have less stress.
2. Locate Your Hotel Well
The best way to avoid unnecessary driving challenges is to stay in an area that provides the best access to other transportation options. These options often include local area shuttle services and public transportation, as well as walkable downtown areas. Look at where you want to visit during your stay, and map out a good hotel location that provides as many ways to get there as possible.
3. Shop for Hotel Parking
Many travelers focus on hotels' amenities and rates but fail to consider the parking fees. Downtown locations often charge higher rates for on-site parking than more suburban locations. If you will bring a car and use it to avoid paying extra ride sharing or shuttle costs, make sure you get a great deal on the parking fees.
4. Make a Strategy for Trips
Rather than worrying about short trips that could be made inexpensively using a ride share or bus, use your car for longer or more complex outings. If your trip is more than about 30 to 45 minutes, you will likely find that using your own vehicle makes much more sense. Similarly, if you schedule a trip that includes two or three different stops for sightseeing on the route, you will only need to take the car out once.
5. Use Your Apps
Your phone is a great source for assistance getting around new cities safely and quickly. In addition to standard GPS services built in to most phones, you also have access to specialty navigating apps like Waze that provide even more strategic driving instructions. Look for apps that help you find the best and most convenient parking options in your area, apps from public transit companies, and timers to keep track of parking times.
When you spend a little time and energy planning your vehicle use and other transportation options, your vacation will be safer and less worrisome. And then you can get down to the serious business of having a good time in a new place. Contact companies like Park at Dulles for more information.